Payment Protection Program causing continued frustration among farmers

Published: Mar. 19, 2021 at 7:51 AM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - There continues to be high levels of frustration among farmers over Payroll Protection Program loans. That’s because the Small Business Administration has ruled that farmers in partnerships do not get the benefit of using gross income when applying for those loans. According to reporting from DTN, the SBA continues to say that only self employed farmers who file a 1040 Schedule F with their tax returns can use gross income to determine their loan amount. Since PPP loans became available last year only 1.6% of the program’s total loan volume has gone to agriculture, fishery or forestry businesses. Last month the SBA did make some changes in the program for sole proprietors, such as farmers, that would increase the funding eligibility for farm businesses. Because of those changes and confusion over program eligibility, many members of Congress want the application deadline for PPP loans extended from the current deadline of March 31st. They also want to make sure that the 117 billion still available for those loans actually gets sent out.

We have a new U.S. Trade Ambassador. The Senate voted 98 to nothing this week to approve the nomination of Katherine Tai to that job. Tai, who is the first Asian-American woman to hold the position, has a lot of experience in international trade. She has served as Chief Trade Counsel for the House Ways and Means committee and she was closely involved in the negotiations for the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Free Trade Agreement. Tai has also worked a lot in the Asia Pacific region and told the senators she will be tough on China.

Friday at the state capitol, cooperative members from around the state will be meeting virtually with their elected officials during “Coop Day at the Capitol.” The major topics they will discuss today include Broadband Expansion grants totaling $157 million that would let electric providers use existing utility easements to install more broadband infrastructure. For agriculture the coops want a $43 million state investment that would fund programs for dairy and meat processing, increased exports, well compensation, more farmer mental health programs and nitrogen optimization programs. They also want more investment in transportation across the state without raising taxes and more emphasis on cooperative development.

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